Romney casts himself as hometown underdog in Michigan appeal

Still, Romney’s close ties to the state where he lived until he was 18 could play against him if he doesn’t perform well. Many are predicting chaos in the GOP primary if Romney can’t close the deal there on Tuesday.

“It’s obviously an uphill battle,” said Romney. “I was 15 points down just 10 days ago, but we’re making progress. The last debate really helped a lot, so I’m hoping to pick up a lot of delegates today.” 

Rick Santorum’s surprising three-state sweep of contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri pushed him to the top of the polls in Michigan. While some polls showed him with a double-digit lead in the Wolverine State, the Real Clear Politics average of polls was never greater than nine points.

Still, Romney did have to mount a comeback, and did so on the strength of last Wednesday’s debate in Arizona, where he and Ron Paul took turns battering Santorum over his record as a senator from Pennsylvania.

Two polls released primary day now show Romney and Santorum in a virtual dead heat in Michigan.